As briefly mentioned in a previous post, I am starting Open University in Januray. University has always been quite a big question mark for me and up until only a few months ago, I did not think I would ever go. I wanted to do a little series surrounding my uni journey so I thought it would be good to start with the reasons I chose not to go to conventional university and why open university felt like a better option for me.
When you think of university and the way it is potrayed in the media, everything appears to revolve around the social life. I really like the idea of going to university and having a wider circle of friends from different backgrounds with different interests, but I didn’t really feel like the “freshers” lifestyle would really suit me. I am quite an anxious person when it comes to going out drinking, unless I am with close friends, so the idea of freshers week was terrifying. I know that this is not the lifestyle for everyone, but it just really didn’t feel like it suited me. Open University can be done alongside work and can be done anywhere. I really loved how I would be able to fit my degree in around my normal life without it taking over too much.
I have never really had a clear career path or direction I wanted to go in so university, for me, seemed like it would not necessarily be as beneficial as it is to others. I was worried that I would choose a degree, end up really not enjoying it and would then have paid for something that I wouldn’t be directly using. In the last 6 months or so, I have had a slightly clearer picture of the direction I would like to take and decided to apply for a degree in Psychology and Criminology with OU. I really liked that the process was so simple and there was a lot of support available if you needed help chosing a course.
After 6th form, a lot of my friends went off to university but I found an office job to earn some money as I was still deciding what I wanted to do. After a while, I became really used to the idea of working and having that source of regular income. The fees for a conventional degree felt very scary to me and I would also be losing that full time income that I got used to having. With Open University, the fees are not as high as with conventional university and you can split this up so you only pay for the modules you are studying that year. For my first year, I am only taking 60 credits, which is the equivalent to half a years full time study, as I will be working full time alongside this. This meant that I was only paying for the modules I was taking, which for me made it feel much less intimidating.
I am really excited to start my course in late January and I would l really like to do some updates later on to document how I am finding it.
If you have had any experience with Open University I would love to hear how you have found it!